American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Various Falls on Rock, Mostly Climbing Unroped or Not Anchored, Wisconsin, Devil's Lake State Park and Peninsula State Park

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1996


Wisconsin, Devil’s Lake State Park and Peninsula State Park

Reports from Devil’s Lake State Park provide an interesting contrast to the Shawangunks in that the average age of the climbers involved in the nine accidents reported for 1995 was 21. The youngest, which was a fatality, was an 11-year-old. He was at the top of a climb, alone, while his uncle was belaying his sister up. He was not tied in, and though he had been warned earlier by other climbers about putting himself in a poor position, he apparently did not understand or accept the situation. At this age, close supervision is usually required. There was one accident in Peninsula State Park, which is not a climbing area, but was being used by an adventure training group for corporate team building. The victim, an experienced climber, was setting up a rappel and fell 70 feet. This accident was one of six that were the result of being unroped or not anchored when the fall occurred. There were four serious head injuries as a result of not wearing a climbing helmet in these cases. (Source: Jed Williamson and reports from Steven Schmelzer, Park Ranger, Devil's Lake State Park)


Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park, Grand Teton

On July 5, Douglas Hall (26) left at 0600 to scout out the North Face route of the Grand Teton for a future ascent, and return via Garnet Canyon by the Dike Col/Teepee Glacier traverse. About noon, he decided to ascend the East Ridge route of the Grand Teton. He crossed into the top of the Molar Tooth’s south gully about 1600. He thought about descending, but then decided to go for the summit. He traversed west on ramps into the next gully (Jackson/Johnson Route), and after encountering difficult climbing, he decided to rappel down the gully to Teepee Glacier. About 150 feet above the glacier, his rope became stuck, and he was forced to spend the night without bivy gear due to darkness.

On the morning of July 6, he down climbed some snow, then 100 feet of rock, and arrived at Teepee Glacier. He descended to the Jackson Hole Mountain Guides’ high camp, where he was given snacks, and then continued his retreat to the valley floor. At 1012, he was met by Rangers Bill Alexander and Eric Gabriel about two miles from the Lupine Meadows parking area. The rangers had been dispatched as part of the rescue/ search operation after Hall was reported missing by Kathy Pike at 0800 that morning. Hall was escorted by Alexander to the Jenny Lake Rescue Cache and interviewed. (Source: George Montopoli and Bob Irvine, SAR Rangers, Grand Teton National Park)

(Editor's Note: This was one of several “overdue” callouts which resulted in no injury or need for rescue beyond the search. For a different kind of outcome, see the September 18 report from Grand Teton National park.)

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